Water Purification

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Re: Water Purification

Postby randalmartin » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:38 am

Scotzman wrote:I'm also in the market to purchase a water purification system and gave been strongly leaning towards the steripen option, but being new to the mountains of CO, my question/concern would be, is the majority of water one would be pulling from fairly free of sediments and therefore perfect for the pen or would the water also need straining if some sort and therefore be more practical for a traditional filter?

A coffee filter or bandanna serve as as pre-filter in the rare case you need it in Colorado. For running streams the level of sediment is generally low. In lakes just be careful to take water from the upper few inches of the water to avoid sediment. That also has the benefit of taking water exposed to the most UV which further benefits from a reduced level of potential pathogens.

The biggest concern in Colorado is with Mine runoff. No filter or portable purification process will help with that. Look for discoloration or crystallization in the water as one means of identifying mine contamination.
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Re: Water Purification

Postby davebks » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:45 pm

AquaMira drops!!!! I highly recommend them. Granted they are drops and arent great for filtering out the dirt, but if you have a clean source these things are awesome. Even if I bring a pump I ALWAYS bring bottles of these drops as back up. I used them in Nepal and Peru and never had an issue. We were in the desert lately and our pump broke and man I was glad I had them as back up.
Cheap, easy to use, and only a 15 minute wait time.
Check em out!!!
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Re: Water Purification

Postby Dukietown » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:51 pm

If you're wanting to stick with drops and keep it light then go with Aquamirra drops. Just as light/compact as iodine without all the drawbacks of iodine. No aftertaste, no need to treat with vitamin C and isn't effected by the temperature of the water.

I recently switched from a much bigger pump filter to using a Sawyer in-line filter on my camelbak and I love it. I just dunk the camelbak in a stream to fill it up and go. It filters as you drink so you don't have to spend any time kneeling by the stream pumping water. In camp I just use a small loop of cord to hang the bladder like a drom bag for filling up cooking pots etc. The filter weighs all of 2oz.

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Re: Water Purification

Postby painless4u2 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:19 pm

I used a Hiker Pro for years with good results, except you must kneel by the water a while, fidget with the hoses which sometimes slip out of the container, and may encounter a clogged element which really slows things down. Plus, it's a bit bulky and has some weight to it. This year, I tried the new rechargable Steripen which is very small and lightweight, which was great, but it also has some shortcomings as well. While at Sandbeach Lake in RMNP, I had brought small-mouthed water bottles plus a Camelback bladder. I couldn't insert the Steripen easily into the water bottles, and the Camelback is difficult to fill in the lake by itself. Next time I'll bring a Nalgene wide-mouth to scoop water, sterilize, then pour into my Camelback. There was also the occasional particle swimming around in lake water, which, unless you use a cloth to strain through, could be a little unnerving gulping it down. When treating a large volume of water, such as in a Camelback (which was also difficult to know if it would reach all the way down inside the reservoir), it takes several minutes of resetting the device for the recommended time. Since you're not pumping, just sitting there staring at the thing, it seems long. I'll probably stick with it next time, but I do bring a small vial of iodine tablets with me as backup.
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Re: Water Purification

Postby Papillon » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:19 pm

My setup:

steripen w/o the sheath
fits all filter w/o the lower conical piece
"treatment vessel" - I cut the top two inches off a one liter gatorade bottle and dunk this in the water (I have a fear of the untreated water on the mouth of a dunked bottle. I know, I know, senseless...)

I then pour the treated water through the fits all filter and into an empty gatorade bottle(s). I use some propel for taste. A one liter nalgene weighs 5 ounces more than an empty gatorade bottle. You can't get the steripen into a gatorade bottle for treatment because the neck is too narrow. That is why I had to cut the top off of one for treatment.

I am able to get 35 treatments on a single set of batteries. I believe the literature reads 30-50 with temperature being a factor.

I spent eight nights in the weminuche this past summer and brought four fresh batteries. They lasted 6 days and nights treating for two people. I even took the batteries out in between treatments in hopes of extending their lives. Next time, I will bring three sets for a full week.

The steripen with batteries and sheath weighs 3.6 ounces. The full filter weighs 2.3 and the hacked off empty gatorade bottle weighs less than an ounce so I figure my setup is around six ounces, especially with the sheath at home.

I think the lightest pump filter these days comes in around 11 ounces. There are definitely trade offs. Weight, footprint in pack, pumping v. chillin', etc. I've had both and I don't know which one I'd deem more reliable. I had a pump filter fail on me years ago.

I always carry potable aqua as a backup on overnights.

edit: My hacked gatorade bottle yields about 0.8 liters treated so you could theoretically say my pen is averaging 42 treatments but I'm losing seven.
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Re: Water Purification

Postby tlerunner » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:30 pm

I have had great luck with my Steripen. It is great for long trail runs and hikes. Just make sure it fits in your bottle before you go.
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Re: Water Purification

Postby Ramfan24 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:57 pm

I have been using the Sawyer in line filter. It now stays on my camelbak all the time. I love it, super light, no pumping. Used it in Chicago Basin this summer w/ no problems.

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Re: Water Purification

Postby Lemmiwinks » Mon Nov 05, 2012 3:51 pm

Papillon wrote:"treatment vessel" - I cut the top two inches off a one liter gatorade bottle and dunk this in the water (I have a fear of the untreated water on the mouth of a dunked bottle. I know, I know, senseless...)

That was my fear as well with Steripen. Looks like you have a good solution. I'm leaning towards Steripen with Iodine tablets as backup. This will probably be an REI purchase in case I'm not happy with it and want to switch to pump or in-line filter.
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Re: Water Purification

Postby TallGrass » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:37 pm

Given the importance of water, never sit on a stool with one leg. For me that means...

Chlorine Dioxide tablets - works better than iodine, totally compact and light (no reason not to pack it as a back up), but takes FOUR hours per directions. IIRC, it's something like 30min for giardia (common) but 4hr for crypto (less common). Best to keep three 1L bottles in rotation which will let you go though a liter ever 1h 20min in "wet" country.

Sawyer Squeeze - very compact and one of the best at filtering (micron-wise), but filling the bags is a PITA as they won't open to their full size on their own. You could blow them open more, but don't you want to keep your mouth off of what came out of unfiltered water? Liked the idea that it'd screw onto bottles, BUT found there are very few it will and if it isn't a perfect fit it just squeezes out the connection before going through the filter.

Pack It In - Given how it's often just a overnight hike, simple just to pack it in and then take three of the liters in your summit pack. Varies by route/peak, but the easiest and cleanest clean water to refill on is municipal.

Coffee Filter - packs light and good pre-filter.

Esbit "cassette" stove and steel mug (folding handles) - probably one of the lightest, smallest and most portable way for boiling, though not fastest (may take 3-7 minutes).
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Re: Water Purification

Postby Scotzman » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:00 pm

Thanks for the feedback, quite informative.
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Re: Water Purification

Postby ed20320 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:27 am

for everyone that hates sitting next to a river/lake to get water, take a look at this:


its a little bucket that you can fill up at the river or lake, bring the water back to camp and pump from there. for a whopping 2.8 oz's, it makes life sooo much easier.
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Re: Water Purification

Postby CO Native » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:13 am

I've become a pretty big fan of the gravity works filter. You just carry one bag down to the creek and fill it. Carry it back to camp hang it in a tree, connect it to the clean bag, and let gravity do your filtering while you set up camp. The whole system weighs under 11 ounces and does 4 liters at a shot.

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